Tears of both joy and desperation could be seen at the end of the 2018 World Cup kick-off match in Moscow. In what was broadly expected to be a friendly draw, Russian players administered a humiliating 5-0 to the Saudi team. Stakes were high on both sides, as the players engaged in the field with Vladimir Putin and Prince Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS) watching from the VIP lounge of the stadium. Sources from Prince’s entourage told the Berlin Group that the match started with a casual bet between the two leaders.
“It was nothing, really. Just the usual. MBS told Putin he’ll recognize Crimea was part of Russia and contribute with a humble 50 million to arm pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine if Putin’s players won. Putin promised to wipe out Huthi militia in Yemen and stage a coup in Syria with a new leader at the Kingdom’s liking if the Saudis ended up with the 3 points after the match. But the real fun started at 2-0 for the Russians”
According to the same source, MBS was already planning to ban Saudi football players from driving at 1-0. At 2-0 he was texting each individual player with the number of lashes awaiting him in Riyadh. At 3-0 it was waterboarding and other forms of torture. 4-0 and they were all labelled agents of Hezbollah and threatened with lapidation. At 5-0 MBS promised public hanging.
“MBS was quite joyful after the match and promised Putin to send him a live facebook feed with the executions after the World Cup”, said another source close to the Russian president.
Understandably, Saudi players asked for asylum in Russia right after the match. Upon consultation with MBS, Putin generously offered to give residence permits to all Saudi footballers and provide them with facilities in the city of Goulagenburg, central Siberia.